Category Archives: Five Stars

The Moving Blade

The Moving Blade by [Pronko , Michael ]

This book made it to my favorites list before I even finished reading it. I am a sucker for a good mystery and The Moving Blade provides suspense and intrigue from the very first chapter. In fact, the first chapter is what kept me going through the next several chapters which do get a bit dry as far as action goes. However, I love the authors style of writing which is very descriptive without being overly wordy and this keeps the reader interested even when nothing spectacularly interesting is happening.

The characters are effortlessly interesting which I think is pretty hard to accomplish, so kudos to the author there as well. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Shibata, who was an old friend of Jamie’s recently deceased father. Shibata is eager to meet with Jamie after her father’s (Bernard Mattson)  funeral and while his demeanor is calm and kind and heartwarming you can tell there is something more to him than he lets on to. It’s also clear early on that Jamie is in for more than she bargained for and that staying in Tokyo to settle her father’s affairs will not be as simple as expected.

The main intrigue of the story surrounds Bernard Mattson’s writings, which are unpublished but well sought after at the time of his death. In fact, Jamie immediately finds herself bombarded by those who wish to obtain them. The detectives on the case of Mattson’s murder are unsure that his death was politically motivated, but it quickly unfolds that the missing manuscript was probably the driving factor behind his death.

The book is a good mix of drama between its many likeable characters and the action that can be expected from a murder mystery. I love the imagery that the author invokes with his good use of descriptions. For instance, reading about the book shop owned by the Endo brothers (maybe because I love books!) gave me such a great image of the shop. I find that in a lot of newer books that I pick up these types of small details are left out and they really make or break a book in my opinion. I also loved the description of Shibata’s home. When Jamie mentioned that she somewhat remembered his house, he told her that it was actually a completely different house and only looked the same on the inside. These little details are a great addition to the literary quality of the book and I found them throughout the story.

These are the types of things that really stand out to me and give the author distinction as a great writer. Some books you read because they’re quick and fun, but like I said, this one ended up on my favorite’s list because of the great writing.

Pages: 339 | ASIN: B07GCYRY61

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The Newspaperman

The Newspaperman by [Nudo, Sal]

When the newspaperman shows up on the corner, looking every bit the part of a newsboy straight out of the 1930’s, Seth is intrigued. When the news in the papers he offers readers begins to take a turn for the bizarre, the grotesque, and the highly-sensationalized, his feelings are steeped more in disgust. Seth and his friends question, not only the newspaperman’s motives, but those of his employer. Seth’s world turns upside down following a visit from the newspaper’s owner, and he and his wife, Meghan, find themselves facing the offer of a lifetime only to see that their joy is short-lived.

I don’t often say this, but it’s incredibly difficult to refrain from busting out in a string of “awesomes” and “fantastics” to describe my utter fascination with The Newspaperman by Sal Nudo. I will try to contain my glee and use phrasing that is more in line with a standard review and less like a school girl gushing over a crush, but The Newspaperman is freaking awesome, folks!

I am not sure what I expected going into the first paragraph, but I do know that Sal Nudo grabbed me, dipped me in a splendid little mixture of visuals, and sat me down in the most fascinating story line I have come across in a long time. His description of the main character, Seth’s, initial encounter with the newspaperman is simply brilliant. Nudo sets up for readers a scenario that will keep them guessing as to, not only the intentions of the highly suspect character, but to the genre itself. By about the second chapter, I had convinced myself that Seth was the only person able to see the newspaperman and was experiencing some type of vision. Nudo, though, weaves such an intriguing tale of mystery that he is able to shift readers from believing they are settling into one genre while he gently places them safely within the arms of another.

The commentary on current events Nudo makes with The Newspaperman is spot-on. Without taking a politically-charged stance, Nudo gives readers something to chew on regarding the state of the U.S. and the fate of journalism as we know it. Again, I hesitate to use common and overused phrasing–but I absolutely loved Seth’s letter and the fervor with which he attacks the C-U Journal.

The Newspaperman is a quick read. By quick read I mean I was enthralled from the mention of Cedrick, the absurdly out of place yet perfectly fitting newsboy, and couldn’t put the book down. It was a read-in-one-sitting, literally-can’t-put-it-down page turner.

That ending, though! Here’s my appeal to Sal Nudo’s sensibilities. I must have resolution. I absolutely, beyond the shadow of a doubt, have to have closure. To say I am bitter about the way Nudo leaves things would be only a slight exaggeration. However, I am ecstatic at the mere notion of a sequel.

I am, with a ridiculous and overzealous amount of enthusiasm, giving The Newspaperman by Sal Nudo 5 out of 5 stars. There is truly nothing else being written right now that blends genres and makes reading about the current state of affairs in our world interesting while driving home the importance of protecting our journalists and the part they play in keeping us all safe and informed like The Newspaperman. I recommend this outstanding piece by Sal Nudo to fans of all genres–it’s simply a must-read.

Pages: 166 | ASIN: B078RGKZJF

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The Enigma Source

The Enigma Source (The Enigma Series Book 10) by [Breakfield, Charles V, Burkey, Roxanne E]

Su Lin and Andy have everything they want on their farm–solitude, livestock to occupy them, and one another. Most importantly, Su Lin is worlds away from her old life. However, Su Lin and Andy are not as free from Su Lin’s past endeavors as they would like to believe. She is a genius in her own right, and that, in and of itself, may just be the downfall of her family and the entire team. As digital currencies begin to lurk behind the world’s financial curtain, Su Lin rises as one of the most desired faces on the planet as she possesses the unbreakable code that can help turn the world’s currency system upside down.

The Enigma Source, by Charles V. Breakfield and Roxanne E. Burkey, features the dynamic team from Breakfield and Burkey’s long list of Enigma books and is every bit as engaging and brimming with technological advancements as each of the pair’s previous installments in the series. The Enigma Source takes readers on a journey eighty years into the past as events in Poland are related via a set of books discovered by Jacob. Throughout the book, the authors have juxtaposed Jacob’s reading of said books with the events endured by Su Lin, Andy, and the rest of the team as they fight to stop Su Lin’s nemesis, Guano.

I am never disappointed in the strength and depth of the relationships between Breakfield and Burkey’s characters. Su Lin and Andy are the focus of The Enigma Source. Their love is intense, endures each and every test thrown their way, and is to be envied. They are among the most vivid of the authors’ couples–second only to Juan and Julie.

I didn’t want to be, but I was struck by Mathias’s sense of loss over Dutch. Breakfield and Burkey have a way of making the reader see the humanity in their antagonists. A sense of pity and sorrow overwhelmed me as I read of Mathias’s grief and his tragic revelation with regards to his own staggering lack of true friendships.

ICABOD, the ever-present supercomputer, remains one of the most fascinating aspects of the Enigma series. ICABOD is a unique blend of technology and humor. Throughout the book, the team of experts turns to ICABOD for intelligence and briefings and are able to obtain the needed information almost instantly–always amazing. In addition, there exists a friendly banter between the team members and the supercomputer that lends a welcome level of levity to rather serious and many times, dark situations.

ICABOD is only the beginning of the advancements peppering Breakfield and Burkey’s work. I was fascinated by the capsule used to track Su Lin’s movements. As she prepares to fly to China, her ingestion of the tiny encapsulated tracker mesmerized me. As with each of the other Enigma books, the authors’ storylines are rich with technology that will wow readers from the first page.

I am giving The Enigma Source, by Breakfield and Burkey, an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 stars. Rich characters and spellbinding storylines permeate The Enigma Source. Readers looking to take a leap into the depths of the digital age will find everything they want within the covers of Breakfield and Burkey’s The Enigma Source.

Pages: 351 | ASIN: B07GD6S9SP

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Be Happy To Be You

The title of the book itself is encouraging enough for one to start reading. Be Happy To Be You takes a simple idea and drives it home with a lovable character, cute art, and an entertaining story.

The art in this book is beautiful. The images are appealing and match the tone of the story. The very first sentence in the book reads “Baby bird wanted to swim. He looked at the fish in the river.” “I wish I could swim in the river like the fish,” says the bird. “You can fly high in the sky,” replies the bird’s mother. This is a good example of the message this story carries throughout the book. Even with everything the bird wishes for, he is always reminded of the things that he does have.

Reading on, one can conclude that the bird feels inadequate with the things he has. Just like humans, the bird wishes for more. The bird’s mother plays a big role in making the bird understand that he can’t have everything he wants. I think kids will be able to make the connection with the animals on the page and easily see the parallels in their own life.

The bird keeps wishing for more throughout the book. He sees the horses and wants to run around the field like they do. He sees the frogs on the lily pad and wants to jump like the reptiles. In every situation though, mother bird shows how caring she is and reminds the bird of the things he can do, that other animals can’t.

Like most guardians, mother bird was always concerned with the bird and tried to make him feel better any time he felt low. A loving and caring mother is what every offspring wishes to have. I appreciate the author’s use of animal characters to bring out habits that are often seen in people. I think this is an important lesson that children of any age should learn.

Be Happy To Be You is not only entertaining, but also informative. The coloring and stunning drawings make the book both entertaining and fun to read. The images of the frogs were my absolute favorite. I wish I could put them in a frame. Every young person who struggles with not being satisfied with what they have will find this book educational.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: 1387596985

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The Scented Bones: The Svabodina Case Files

The Scented Bones: The Svabodina Case Files by [Kerner, Angelina]

The Scented Bones is an outstanding contribution to the world of paranormal and light-hearted romance. The author, Angelina Kerner, provides a novel which opens up a whole range of emotions and mysteries. The unique plotline of The Scented Bones is both humorous, enticing and intense. Kerner’s nerve-wracking story line is perfect for those who are thrill seekers that enjoy all things odd, weird and truly abnormal.

From shape-shifters, to witches, to vampires and werewolves, The Scented Bones really does captivate all key elements of the paranormal world. Nothing beats a book that is full of mystery, tension and the unknown. Angelina is able to write a fluent and creative plot. Her heroine, Angel, is a forensic anthropologist when her life is turned upside down when the skeleton that she has been working on vanishes. This book follows case files to help solve what happened to the skeleton. But along the way, Angel has to face all sorts including the Fae Queen. Can she solve the case with the help of different paranormal families?

Angelina Kerner does a fantastic job at writing fluently with regards to her characters. Right from the offset, I was instantly drawn into the heroin, Angel, and her Grandma. The characters are well described, well thought out, and appeal to all types of reader. Kerner continues to keep the reader’s attention with both humans and paranormal characters, providing the ultimate paranormal novel.

One of the great things that Angelina Kerner articulates in her writing is the ability to look beyond reality and enter a world of pure make-believe. The author of The Scented Bones reinforces ideas such as the paranormal and the unknown – something that all of us are slightly bewildered by.

The Scented Bones is a book that is easy to follow and written with unique style and creativity. What is even more, is that the author has gone out of her way to create a vocabulary section at the beginning of her book to ensure readers know the meaning of bizarre words and/or phrases.

After reading The Scented Bones, I can safely say that this book took me out of my comfort zone. However, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the narrative, plot twists and characters. Angel plays the perfect heroine throughout this book, and I loved reading how her journey played on. From beginning to end, Angleina Kerner kept me on the edge of my seat. This is the first book that I have read by Kerner, and I can safely say that I will be back for more of her books.

An articulate, creative and highly imaginative novel blending an array of themes and emotions with the unnatural world. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Scented Bones and I believe this book has lots of things to offer a wide range of readers. You will not be disappointed with what this book has to offer! Trust me!

Pages: 156 | ASIN: B07DHZFBD4

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Beguiled

Beguiled by Karma Kitaj is definitely a MUST read. One of the greatest things about Beguiled is it hooks you right from the start. Within reading the first two paragraphs I was hooked, I knew right away that this was going to be a book that I couldn’t put down until I had finished it.

The story of Beguiled starts out with a young woman leaving her husband. Upon leaving her husband with her young son this woman finds herself on her parent’s doorstep as she really has no other place to go. As the first chapter closes the reader is taken back in time to this young woman’s childhood. Beguiled isn’t just a romance story, it is a story about growing up and finding your own way in the world.

Beguiled follows the life and adventures of a young girl named Miriam and follows her story as she grows into a young lady. Miriam is a young Jewish girl with Russian immigrant parents who grew up during the 1920’s. The story goes into the hard childhood of Miriam and how no matter what she did she could never please her mother. Miriam’s father loved the theater and took Miriam to as many shows as he possibly could. The love of theater instilled a strong desire in young Miriam to become an actress, despite what her mother thought.

The story takes place during the 1920’s where women were not seen as equals to men. Beguiled does touch upon some political aspects, but the story is not overly political. Beguiled is filled with historical events and is written in a way that allows you to really connect with the characters. Women’s suffrage is touched upon in Beguiled and the author also tackles some other social situations.

As you progress deeper and deeper into Beguiled you will find yourself pleasantly surprised at the way the story is told. As you read one page and then another you can’t help but find yourself wanting to know what is going to happen next in Miss Miriam’s life. Beguiled isn’t a typical romance story filled with wanderlust and girls who are seeing stars; there is only the slightest suggestion of romance towards the very end of the book. The main story behind Beguiled is that of a young girl who grows up and finds out just who she really is and how she can actually make a difference in the world.

Although this story does go back in time, it doesn’t jump around from past to present as many other stories do. Something else that I really like about this book was how each chapter identified the year it was taking place in. If you know your history you can easily follow along with the events that were taking place and perhaps anticipate what was about to happen next.

Pages: 349 | ASIN: B079924GDK

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Unsteady

Unsteady by [York, Elizabeth]

Unsteady kicks off in chapter one by giving us a glimpse into the childhood lives of its main characters, London and Logan. London and Logan both attend a Catholic boarding school and have similar backgrounds in that they both feel utterly abandoned by their families. The connection that they share as children is very heartfelt and the author does a good job of portraying this. Despite the book seeming rather rushed (which is to be expected from its 313 pages), I think the author also does a fantastic job of getting the reader attached to the characters. I was sufficiently swept away and invested in these characters and wanted to keep reading to see what happens to London and Logan and see how their story unfolds.

Unsteady is a steamy romance novel. As for the adult relationships that occur in this book, several of them are of an erotic nature. Logan is certainly a ladies man, there is no mistake about that. He is an airline pilot that tends to have lurid relationships with women all over the world. His behaviors aren’t completely debased; well actually…they are, but rather the reason is somewhat understandable. However, the aspect of the book that I thought could have used some polish was the language used in the erotic encounters. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that when I see the term “one eyed snake” it doesn’t evoke ideas of romance. The novel is filled with these hot and heavy moments that turn this steamy romance into a erotic story that will keep you wide eyed. This combination will be welcomed by any fan of the romance genre and it is certainly intriguing, but it’s marked by a change in tone and story telling. The romance part of the novel is well done, as stated earlier, I was invested in the characters and couldn’t wait to see how their relationship turned out. But while the expert writing skill displayed in these romance section easily gets you invested, the writing in the erotic sections of the book doesn’t seem to match. I felt like most of the story was written by someone with superb writing skills while the erotic sections were written by a teenager with raging hormones.

But I don’t want to make it sound like the book was unreadable though, I enjoyed the suspense of the story and the action surrounding London’s job with the CIA. Overall, this book contains an entertaining story that will leave you biting your nails. Romance novels are about the characters and their relationships, and this book has some alluring characters that get into some… sticky situations.

Pages: 436 | ASIN: B07C1V1TS8

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The Day That A Ran Away

The Day That A Ran Away by [Fegan, B.C.R.]The Day that A Ran Away is an adorably witty story about the letters of the alphabet just deciding not to report for duty one day. Master Jet is trying to write the alphabet and he just can’t do it with all the letters on holiday. Each letter has either decided not to show up or has had something that prevented it from showing up. Understandably, it’s hard to write the alphabet without even one of the letters. Master Jet may think he is fooling his teacher, but Mrs. May is way too smart to fall for his creative tricks.

My kids are much older now, but they would have loved this book when they were little. The writing is catchy and flows well for reading aloud. The rhymes are cute. The colors are bright and eye-catching. This was especially always a hit with my own children. The illustrations are beautiful. It is very visually pleasing. It is also funny. It made me laugh a couple of times. I actually think it would be fun to read aloud. Any parent who has had to read the same book one hundred times can tell you how important it is to have a story that flows well verbally.

My favorite part of the book is the beautiful illustrations. They are by Lenny Wen. As with most children’s books, the illustrations are a huge part of whether the book is a hit or not. Since most kids are being read to at this stage, the illustrations have to really appeal to them. A nice touch was adding a few “hidden” images within each letter’s page—having the kids match the letter with the object. My kids would have loved trying to find these little gems. Overall, the artwork is beautifully done.

Together B.C.R. Fegan and Lenny Wen have created a catchy, appealing story for little kids and their parents. I really enjoyed it. I believe kids and parents everywhere would enjoy it as well.

Pages: 33 | ASIN: B07DMN4VVP

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Be Unstoppable: No Excuses

Life would not be as vibrant without the curve balls it likes to throw at us. You know you are definitely going to face challenges but there is no way of knowing the challenges you are going to face or even when those challenges will show up. The only thing to do is to charge forward. To be ready for whatever comes. To know that falling is inevitable but will be meaningless if you do not get up and keep going. To be unstoppable without using the said challenges as excuses to slack off.

The author of this book has lived a very eventful life. A life colored with challenges and triumphs in almost equal measure. The story of his life is told in his first book Unstoppable: Challenge Accepted. He has followed it up with the gem Be Unstoppable: No Excuses. The second book talks about success and hurdles on the path. He talks about time, courage, sacrifice, forgiveness, and hope. All factors that could make the difference between one who tries, fails then remains a failure and one who tries, fails then tries again.

Some of the most valuable tidbits is the part about being decisive and acting quickly. This balances quite well with the risk bit. The author also talks about confidence and mental strength. All these are aspects of the journey to success. A change in the perception in these factors could make all the difference. I found this book to be both enlightening and uplifting.

This book gives advice in a way that leaves the reader feeling energized to work harder as opposed to drained of all hope. The writing is clear and affirmative. It is well thought out and sober. The author has done a good job of outlining his points in a sensible manner. A way that seems chronological. It is engaging and captures your attention right from the beginning and delivers a profound yet sensible message without entangling you in a web of complicated thoughts.

I think this is a great book to read for people who are in business. They will learn how to stay ahead of the curve by enhancing the most valuable asset they have: themselves. For people looking to go into entrepreneurship. They will learn to be strong and unstoppable ahead of time instead of just gaining strength once they have hit the tides. It is a great book for people starting out in their careers. Tariku Bogale is a great believer in education and his passion shines through this book.

Pages: 104 | ASIN: B078866Y19

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Breaking Worlds

Breaking Worlds (Lisen of Solsta Book 5) by [St. Martin, D. Hart]

The action never stops in Breaking Worlds by D. Hart St. Martin. This installation in the Lisen of Solsta saga is easy to dive into, even if you haven’t read the previous volumes. The gut wrenching emotion that pours out of this novel is gripping and drives the reader forward: looking for the resolution of such a familial rift. The energy is compelling as the story drives forward. We learn about the divide between Lisen and Korin. We witness as their daughter Rinli undergoes what could be described as an evolution and her determination to change the world they live in shakes both mother and father to the core. This book has clearly been crafted with care and is sure to not disappoint new and returning readers.

St. Martin is a veteran at her craft. The raw emotions that both Korin and Lisen feel at the death of their daughter are so palpable the reader can’t help but feel those emotions running through their own veins as they read. It can be difficult to describe such grief, let alone show how it can consume an individual, but St. Martin does it with grace. As Korin wrestles with emotion that he has never felt before he wonders how others can live after feeling it. It is such a powerful statement that it will resonate with anyone who has ever felt pain at the loss of a loved one. Such descriptive power carries on throughout the book and enhances the story.

It can be hard to come into a series without the backstory of previous volumes. While there may be some slight confusion for new readers, St. Martin explains things in such a way that it’s not overwhelming and readers do not become lost. There is a guide at the back of the book that lays out the main characters and some demographic information on them that can be helpful. It also assists readers that St. Martin writes as if readers have either forgotten or have limited knowledge of previous installments. This is helpful for new readers and doesn’t detract from the amazing story she is trying to tell. This can be a delicate balance to keep, but St. Martin knows exactly what she’s doing and demonstrates her ability to craft an excellent tale.

Any reader who wants to throw themselves into the grip of an epic fantasy-adventure book needs to look no further than Breaking Worlds by D. Hart St. Martin. While this particular book is the fifth in a series, the carefully crafted world and elaborate world building is more than enough to grab the attention of new and returning readers. The raw human emotion that laces this book as our protagonists manage their grief, their pain and the familial rift that threatens to consume the world as they know it enhances the base storyline. Readers won’t be able to get enough as they consume the delicious story laid out before them.

Pages: 280 | ASIN: B0795DRCNJ

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